Case Study #9

Contracts to provide flower-fields for pollinators

The honey bee foraging support scheme is an additional sub-part of the
Environmentally Friendly Farming scheme (within the Agri-Environmental Scheme
and the Estonian Rural Development Plan for 2014-2020) co-financed by the EU-
CAP support scheme Pillar II and Estonian State, which is administered by the
Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB). Its aim is to promote
farmers creating flower fields to support pollinators, and particularly honey bees. The
contract scheme runs since 2015, but the scheme still has generated low up-take. The
contract requirements are quite complex, as the contract offers support to a farmer
sowing at least three different flower-crops in the close proximity of a group of honey
bee hives in agreement with a officially registered honey bee keeper. The apiarist
itself is not part of the administrative contract, as hives are expected just to be
registered in the state data base. The project EFFECT will first analyse all succeeded
contracts in comparison to farmers and bee-keepers in general. We expect that the
selection of flower-crops in interaction with the environmental context around fields
and honey bee hives might be additional barriers for participation. We develop
suggestions and approaches in collaboration with the Society of Professional Honey
Bee Keepers and ARIB to increase the interest for the creation flower-fields. We plan
to improve the efficiency of the ecosystem supporting service via optimising criteria
to form contract and increasing the profitability of these flower-crops fields. For this,
firstly, in EFFECT we will evaluate all present contract cases across the Estonia,
perform analyses of past and present environmental and ownership context, assess
flower-crop composition and ecosystem service provisional efficiency and test
various societal and environmental modifications of the scheme using various
methodologies of workshops, interviews, field surveys and GIS-analyses. The official
practice partner for this case is Estonian Society of Professional Beekeepers NGO).